Beginner Body Weight Workout & Exercises: Lose Weight, Build Muscle ANYWHERE!

So you want to get in shape, but you have no gym membership and don’t know what to do. 

Ruh roh…

That’s fine, you don’t need one to get in great shape! You can work out anywhere, like me in the photo above, doing push-ups on a cliff in South Africa. Because why not!

Commercial gyms are tough places to work out anyways:

They’re home to pushy salesman, intimidating jacked dudes grunting into a mirror, and other members that aren’t very welcoming.

Luckily, you can burn fat, build muscle, and get a great workout by just doing body weight exercises – no gym or workout equipment required.

Cardio can actually be one of the least efficient methods of burning calories (which I explain below). 

Why not give bodyweight training a try and be more efficient with your time?

I realize doing just STARTING bodyweight training can be intimidating, and you’re probably also thinking “this better be worth it!”

I know. I struggled with progress for a decade despite exercising regularly – it’s because I was training the wrong way!

After all, there’s nothing more frustrating than putting in effort for months (or years) and not seeing results. And unfortunately, this is what I see from most people:

Lots of well intentioned – but misguided  – effort when it comes to exercise and no progress!

You probably don’t have years to make the mistakes that I did, and you want to start getting results today. I hear ya!

In addition to the free workout below, we also offer 1-on-1 Online Coaching, where you’ll get personalized instruction for your body type and goals, and professional accountability from a Coach on Team Nerd Fitness!

Today however, you can get started with our free bodyweight circuit below in the comfort of your own home: you’ll complete one exercise right after the other without stopping, you’re both building muscle and getting a cardiovascular workout.

Combine that with a good diet and you got yourself a kick-ass plan to follow!

Why BodyWeight Circuits Kick Ass

lego push-up

What makes bodyweight circuits work so well?

Every body weight exercise involved utilizes multiple muscle groups, gets your heart rate pumping, and burns tons of calories.

Essentially, circuit weight training, or circuit bodyweight training, burns more calories than interval training, and that in turn burns WAY more calories than steady cardio. When you strength train, you burn calories. Then, your body needs to spend hours and hours afterwards rebuilding your muscles, which in turns burns even more calories (they call this the ‘afterburn effect).

As we cover in our Coaching Program and the NF Academy, our nutrition will account for 80-90% of our success or failure when it comes to getting in shape, might as well spend our time exercising being efficient and strong, right?

Want to make better food decisions? Read our Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Eating.

If you’re trying to lose weight, spending hours doing cardio on a treadmill is a really crappy, boring, inefficient use of your time.

If you’re a busy person (and I know you are), why spend hours doing something when you can be MORE efficient and build a better physique with less time?

Enter the beginner bodyweight workout.

I’m going to take you through a basic home workout today that can be completed anywhere – in your house, apartment, out at a park, in your basement, on the moon, wherever.

Beginner Body Weight Workout & Exercises

This is a basic body weight circuit.

In a circuit routine, you’ll do each exercise in succession without a break in between (if you’re able).  Once you’ve finished all exercises in the circuit, do it again.

If you’re still able after the 2nd run through, go for a third.

Because all of these exercises come one after another, you’re bound to get tired – and that’s okay! We all start somewhere.

It’s better to stop and take a break than to do an exercise incorrectly.  If you can’t do all three circuits without stopping, great! That gives you something to work towards.

Before you start, don’t forget WARM UP – Never ever ever ever forget to warm up.  Make sure to get your heart rate pumping and get your muscles warm or you’re just asking for injury.

You can run in place, jump rope, do a few push ups, pedal on a stationary bike, do some punches and kicks, jog up and down your stairs, and/or twist and swing your arms and legs to get them moving!  Give it about 5 minutes, and don’t wear yourself out completely, but get your heart rate elevated and little bit of sweat never hurt anybody.

After the warm up, here is exactly what you need to do:

  • 20 bodyweight squats
  • 10 push ups
  • 20 walking lunges – 10 each leg
  • 10 dumbbell rows (using a gallon milk jug or another weight)
  • 15 second plank
  • 30 jumping jacks

After you’ve completed your workout at home, do some stretches. All of your muscles have been contracted from lifting and need to be stretched back out and rebuilt.

For either the body weight squats or lunges, if you can’t do them properly yet, it’s okay to put your hand on a support to keep your balance.

For the body weight squats, think of it like sitting back into a chair. If you can sit down onto a chair, and then stand immediately right back up without having to lean forward, you are in balance.

For the lunges, keep your eyes ahead and your upper body completely vertical. I had a slight bend at times in the video due to trying to exercise and explain at the same time.

I used a milk jug for my dumbbell, but you can use whatever is heavy enough for you. Find something that is challenging to lift 10 times in a row.

Do this routine 2-3 times a week, but never on consecutive days.  You don’t build muscle when you’re exercising, you build muscle when you’re resting.

Generally I like follow a pattern of strength training on one day, then 20 minutes of interval training on the next, then strength training, then interval training, and so on.

Generally, I try not to do a strength training routine (of the same muscle groups) two days in a row, as your muscles need plenty of time to recover.

An Important Note About Nutrition!

Along with this bodyweight routine, you need to make sure you’re eating properly!

A good workout and crappy diet won’t get you results.

After all, one of the rules of the Nerd Fitness Rebellion is “you can’t outrun your fork” and you can’t outtrain a bad diet!

This means if you don’t ALSO fix your relationship with food, then all the exercise you do won’t be helping you lose weight and building muscle.

We’ve actually developed a 10-level nutrition system and mindset blueprint in the Nerd Fitness Academy, but let me break this down into some basics:

  • Eat natural, whole foods whenever possible.
  • Leave the soda, candy, and junk food out of your system.
  • Sugar is worse than Jar Jar Binks – cut back on sugar and liquid calories wherever you can. The stuff is in everything!
  • Swap out the grains on your plate for vegetables when you can.
  • Make sure you get enough protein each day (meat, chicken, fish) – this helps with rebuilding muscles and things like that.

The raw honest truth: how you eat will be responsible for least 80% of your success or failure.

I’m not kidding when I say that. If you don’t develop a healthier relationship with food, no amount of exercise will get you there.

So if you’re doing this workout program because you’re interested in losing weight, know that training is only 10-20% of the puzzle!

The WORST is dutifully doing this workout routine for months or going to the gym for years and not getting results because you didn’t eat the right way!

That was me – I spent 6 years without results because I didn’t know how to eat correctly to go along with my training!

If you don’t have months or years to make mistakes, and just want your own Yoda to tell you what to do, you’re in the right place!

We’ve been helping busy people like you train at home and make better food decisions without hating life! It’s our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program, and it might be a great fit for you.

Schedule a call with us to learn more by clicking on the image below:

Help Me Help You

Thanks for reading up to this point – I hope you had a great time getting stronger and challenging yourself in a new way. Strength training is one of the pillars of Nerd Fitness – it makes literally every part of life better, will improve your physique, help you lose fat and build strength and muscle, and it can be done quickly, anywhere.

Stick with it! Do this routine a few times a week and note how much better you get at it.

If doing just one circuit of the workout was really challenging, read the PS below.

We’ve got you covered!

-Steve

PS: If this routine is too easy for you, I have an Advanced Body Weight Circuit too.  You’ve been warned 🙂

PPS: Don’t forget to download this Bodyweight workout sheet so you can print out the sheet and train at home!

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  • Alex

    Im an ectomorph body type and want to pack on some weight and muscle on my body since my arms and leg are super skinny. Will this program actually help me reach my goal? i don’t want to focus much on losing weight, but instead gain lean muscle and mass on my body.

  • Ace

    This is SO silly, but I’m a girl, and I despise jumping jacks because the discomfort of bouncing boobs. Any suggested alternatives to the jumping jack portion?

  • Michael J.

    I’m thinking of doing this constantly at least once a week.

  • Forrest

    Wouldn’t you do bodyweight rows instead of dumbbell rows for a whole bodyweight program?

  • Jennifer Lee Roberts

    Does this cost anything?

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  • Maddy v2 – this time it’s pers

    I have a pretty serious balance problem, would holding on to something negate the benefits of this routine?

  • Kerri

    What kinds of home workouts can a person do if they have had two knee replacements and have restrictions on kneeling, running, and jumping?

  • Amanda Jarrell (DreamWolf777)

    Hi everyone. So I haven’t been on here in about a year. I fell off the wagon pretty bad. But I’m back and trying to find a page that I can’t seem to find. Where is the page located that has the workouts and bosses listed?

  • Fionnghuala

    Do u do this everyday? I read somewhere that you do the same exercise for a couple weeks your body will get used to it and burn less energy/fat while doing…All most like a tolerance towards exercise

  • Every other day!

  • Markus K

    How many calories does this burn? I’m eating at a deficit and I’d like to correctly keep track.

  • prstorero

    I’ve been wanting to get into stuff like this for a while but I always feel held back due to diet (and not for the reason you think). It’s not that I eat too much and therefore gain weight. I have to consume a lot of fat and calories to maintain my bodyweight due to a genetic disorder (cystic fibrosis). I’m sure that if I switched to eating fully healthy, as many strength training guides recommend, my weight would fall too much.

    I’ve always had the question of is it the food alone that’s important or the fact that normally eating too much puts on too many pounds and that’s why you don’t see results. If it’s the second one, I should be ok because I consume a lot of calories and am between 153-155 pounds at 5’11”. Do you have any advice on this?

  • Lisa

    Ok so I’ve been trying to get my hands on that workout sheet for a few days now but I won’t get the info sent to my email. What is up with that?